Learning what steps to take when disciplining a 1 year old takes care and attention.
At 1, your child is learning the basic building blocks to life. They are busy exploring, learning and discovering themselves and the outside world. For you, it means increased attention to the things they can touch and reach out to keep them safe and secure.
At 1 years old it is difficult to teach the concept of discipline as they are just too young to understand the relationship between cause and affect. It’s more important to create clear boundaries and reward good behaviour.
Related: 14 Mo Old Tantrums
Here are the most responsive 1 year old discipline techniques.
7 Effective Ways For Disciplining a 1 Year Old
1. Focus on Boundaries
At 1, it is difficult to teach your child that throwing food all around the house at dinner time is wrong. As they are so young they won’t be able to comprehend the reason for tidiness and cleanliness.
However, you are able to teach them the difference between right and wrong and you can teach them clear boundaries.
For example, if they are crawling around on the floor but are getting too close to a radiator you can politely explain that the ‘Radiator is Hot’ and they ‘Don’t touch’
Try to keep your commands short and precise. This will help them remember for next time!
Being safe is your highest concern so ensure your house is childproof. For example no sharp edges, stair locks, turning radiators off when not in use etc
Enforcing clear boundaries is a great way to promote good behaviour and powerful technique for disciplining a 1 year old
Verbal & Non-Verbal Cues
Your 1-year-old learns both verbally and non verbally so use this to your advantage. Let’s look at another example:
“Radiator Hot, Don’t Touch’
Here you would show them what would happen if they touched the radiator with their fingers. Once they see the pain and grief on your face they will begin to form the conclusion that this object is dangerous and they should keep away.
The more you repeat it the quicker they will learn and as they get older it will be a solid boundary for them not to cross.
2. Distraction Works!
Try not to shout at your child when they show disruptive behaviour. Learning how to teach 1 year old baby to behave requires lots of patience and repetition.
Remember, A 1 year old may not understand the link between thier behaviour and your expression, so they will see you shouting and just get upset themselves.
Instead, try distracting your child away from disruptive behaviour in a positive way.
For instance, if they are chewing the edge of the chair and they have been told a few times to stop, then gently move them away and pull out there play mat.
Now as they begin to play with this they will forget all about the disruptive activity.
Distraction is a great way to keep the peace and promote more positive behaviour in younger children. It can also be used in any environment, indoors and outdoor.
If your child is sitting in the car, it’s busy and they are starting to becoming irritated then you can do this.
Try singer their favourite song, pointing to something interesting outside, or simply count 1 – 10.
It’s simple but very effective as young children have shorter attention spans then older children.
Distraction is one of the easiest techniques to learn for disciplining a 1 year old.
3. Consistency is KEY!
Children are very smart and if they see any small defects in your parenting armour they will chip away at it until they leave a great big hole!
Try and be more consistent with your parenting especially if you see differences in your spouse’s approach.
You must both try to show a united front. Once a toddler feels they have more leeway with one parent over the other they will abuse the relationship to get their own way.
This can start at very young ages and just get worse as they get older.
For example, if you give your child a sweet treat before dinner on one occasion and then next time they beg and plead with you to do it again and you cave in, you’ll find it very difficult to curb that behaviour going forward.
Instead, be consistent and show your child that no does, in fact, mean no.
Try to keep your language positive as much as possible. Younger children will mimic their parent’s words and actions. This means that whatever words you use and the way you say it will directly influence them.
If you constantly use the word ‘NO’ then you’ll find that your child does the same thing. Instead, keep the word ‘NO’ for those things that relate to safety and phrase your other response to behaviour a bit differently.
For example, If they try to reach out for your sharp fork on the table, then a stern ‘No’ will suffix with a brief explanation. “Mummy’s fork is very sharp”
But if they are hitting their toy to breaking point, then instead of using the word no try framing it in a more positive way.
“Sweetie, please don’t hit teddy so hard, you will damage him. Let’s use another toy instead, try throwing this ball instead”
5. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Children have a hard time adjusting to their surroundings. If your child is too rough with other children then try to demonstrate soft play as opposed to just saying it.
For example, say, “Let’s play softly, how about you hug your sister first and then we can play together on your play mat”
Now you hug your daughter showing your son how to do it and then guide his arm around his sister so he learns himself.
This will teach your toddler a more acceptable way to behave. It’s great technique to adopt when learning how to discipline a 1 year old who hits.
Consequently, your child will pick up appropriate behaviour for each environment faster than just explaining it to them.
6. Rewarded Good Behaviour
Learning how to discipline a 1 year old who throws tantrums requires focusing on good behaviour more than the bad.
Too often parents focus on negative behaviours which can cause a downward spiral to more destructive behaviour.
Your child craves attention and will find constructive ways to get it. If they conclude that your attention is easier to get when they misbehave, they will just continue to push your buttons.
Instead make it your aim to praise good behaviour. Focus on the confirmative things that they do and give them positive attention.
For example, if your child has put away some of his toys, but needs a bit of encouragement to put the rest away, you can say,
“Well done Sweetie, I am so proud of you, look how clean and tidy the front room is starting to look. Quick, let’s finish the rest so we can make it all look tidy!”
By focusing on the good behaviour you promote the rule that your attention is best kept for compliant behaviour.
This is a very effective way of disciplining a 1 year old.
7. Observe Patterns And Habits
A smart way to learn how to teach 1 year old baby to behave is to observe their habits on a daily basis.
All children have very unique patterns of behaviour. By observing any signs of disruptive or negative behaviour you can pre-empt it before it gets worse.
Keep a journal or diary of when your child acts’ out the most.
Do they throw tantrums in the morning?
Are they quite aggressive in the afternoons before a meal?
Do they tend to act out before nap time?
Do they fuss a lot during car rides?
Are they prone to aggression during playtimes?
Are they prone to mini meltdowns before bed?
By focusing on your child’s unique behaviour patterns you will form a clear picture of recurring reasons for negative behaviour.
You may find a recurring habit of disruption in the afternoon before a nap. This could indicate that your child is too tired or exhausted and needs an earlier nap.
Or you could find temper tantrums occur before dinner in the evening, which is a sign your child may be actually getting hungrier early.
Equally planning regularly stops during a long car journey could pre-empt frustrations and anxiety.
Once you pinpoint the pattern you can begin to proactively fix it by changing the routine and reducing the disruptive cause.
These 1 year old discipline techniques are very powerful. Try each one out and stick to the ones that work best for you.